Ershad pleads innocence

Appearing before Divisional Special Court Judge Md Abdur Rashid on Thursday morning, the deposed military ruler sought justice in the case.

Statements of prosecution witnesses in the case, which was filed two decades ago, were recorded on April 24. On that day the court also fixed the date for cross-examining the accused.

The special envoy to the Prime Minister now, Ershad also submitted a written statement to the court defending his position.

All the three accused, including Ershad, told the judge that they would not give any confessional statement.

The other two accused are former Air Force chiefs Mamtazuddin Ahmed and Sultan Ahmed.

File Photo

Both of them also pleaded innocence and sought justice in the case. However, they did not submit any written statement.

After hearing the three accused, the Court fixed May 29 for argument.

Ershad was made accused in the case pertaining to irregularities in the purchase of radar for air force on May 4, 1992.

Anti-Corruption Bureau pressed the charges in the court on Oct 27, 1994.

In the chargesheet it was stated that while serving as president, Ershad in connivance with the other two accused, took money by allowing purchase the radars at a higher-than-market price from the US-based Westin Company turning down the offer of Thompson CSF Company of France, causing the state exchequer a loss of around Tk 640 million.

Another accused in the case AKM Musa is absconding since the beginning of the trial.

Since the framing of charges against Ershad and other accused on Aug 12, 1995, the trial remained stalled until 1998 following a Supreme Court order.

Though there was no legal hurdle to record the deposition of witnesses, the trial did not progress much.

The plaintiff, an official of the Anti Corruption Bureau, Md Ali Haider also did not have to appear before the court.

In the meantime the Bureau was disbanded and replaced by Anti-Corruption Commission.

Deposition of prosecution witnesses began on August 19, 2010 and it ended on March 1, 2012.

Jatiya Party chairman Ershad is also prime accused in the murder of Major General Abul Manzur.

Source: Bd news24

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